Will the United States Qualify for the 2022 World Cup?
The 2018 World Cup was one to remember, with France storming their way to victory in thrilling fashion with a 4-2 triumph over Croatia in the final. While the tournament was thrilling to millions of fans all over the world, those of us in the United States felt a little left out.
The American team failed to qualify for the festivities in Russia, which marked the first time since 1984 that the United States was not represented in the world’s most prestigious soccer event. The U.S. wasn’t alone, however, with a number of other high-profile teams also having missed out. The Netherlands, Chile, Italy, and Ghana failed to qualify, too.
The World Cup presents no shortage of betting opportunities every 4 years. Soccer is one of the most popular betting sports on the planet, and, even though the men’s World Cup won’t return until 2022, you can already place bets on the next iteration.
MyBookie has a number of props posted regarding the 2022 World Cup, which will take place in Qatar. Will teams that found success in 2018 do so again in 2022? Will Cristiano Ronaldo return for Portugal? And, most importantly, will the United States qualify this time around?
Will the United States Qualify for the 2022 World Cup?
- Yes -500
- No +300
The Americans’ failure to qualify for the 2018 edition of the World Cup was nothing short of an embarrassment. The U.S. faces an easier road to qualification than all of their European and South American counterparts, yet they failed to get the job done. The disaster resulted in the firing of coach Bruce Arena and a complete overhaul of the American soccer brass.
We will see if the lesson was learned. The U.S. is 3-0 thus far under new manager Gregg Berhalter, though they haven’t exactly faced the stiffest competition in friendlies thus far. Still, results are results, and you can’t get too picky if you’re an American soccer supporter.
CONCACAF (the North and Central American soccer confederation) will send 3 or 4 teams to the 2022 World Cup. Mexico, Panama and Costa Rica wound up qualifying out of CONCACAF in 2018, with Honduras falling to Australia in a playoff for another spot in the 32-team field.
There’s no doubting the U.S. has a talented enough team. The arena was fielding a largely older group of players when attempting to qualify in 2018, and most of those guys will be gone when 2022 qualification ramps up. Christian Pulisic is obviously the headliner, and the teenager recently made a big-money move from Borussia Dortmund in Germany to Chelsea in England.
Chelsea have signed Christian Pulisic for $72.7 million and loan the USMNT star back to Dortmund until this summer. pic.twitter.com/ggm3gfxMON
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) January 2, 2019
Berhalter has happily relied on young players through his first 3 matches in charge, which is a welcome change. Zack Steffen looks primed to take over for Brad Guzan in goal, while mainstays like John Brooks, DeAndre Yedlin, Bobby Wood and Jozy Altidore will return.
At this point, it’s almost unfathomable to suggest that the Americans could miss out on back-to-back World Cups, especially given the dearth of legitimate competition in CONCACAF. Betting on the U.S. to make it carries very little value at -500, but I don’t think betting “no” here at +300 is a bet likely to pay off.
When Will the USA Be Eliminated from the 2022 World Cup?
- Do Not Qualify +300
- Group Stage +200
- Round of 16 +200
- Quarterfinals +600
- Semifinals +1200
- Final +2600
- Will Win World Cup +6600
So, let’s assume the Americans cure their ills and qualify for the main event in 2022. How far will they get?
Obviously, that’s a pretty tough question to answer considering we don’t know the rest of the ‘22 field, and we don’t know which teams the Americans will potentially face in the group stage. The U.S. managed to finish second in their group at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil despite being drawn into what many tabbed as the “group of death.” The U.S. finished second behind eventual champions Germany, and ahead of Portugal and Ghana, who were eliminated.
Unless the Americans are drawn into a particularly daunting group in 2022, I like their chances of at least advancing into the round of 16. The USMNT was defeated by an upstart Belgian side at the ‘14 World Cup in the round of 16 in a game that needed extra time.
If you’re a risk-tolerant type of bettor, I think you can take a stab at the U.S. being eliminated in the round of 16 at +200 here. There is decent profit potential there, even if you’re going to have to wait another 3 years to cash it out.
If you’re risk tolerant and particularly fond of the Americans’ chances at exceeding expectations, pegging the U.S. to go out in the quarterfinals offers a bit more upside at +600. The U.S. managed to finish in third place at the first-ever World Cup back in 1930, but their best finish since then was a run to the quarterfinals back in 2002, when the tournament was hosted in Japan and South Korea. The Americans beat rivals Mexico in the round of 16 before faltering against Germany in the quarterfinal.
Anything beyond a quarterfinal finish is a bit optimistic for my blood, and I say this as an avid supporter of the national team.
Will Italy Qualify for the 2022 World Cup?
- Yes -1000
- No +600
As mentioned in the open, the Italians were another of the premier sides to miss out on the 2018 World Cup. Italy was beaten by Sweden in the second round of qualifying, which marked the first time in 60 years that Italy would fail to qualify for a World Cup.
As was the case with the U.S., Italy fielded an unusually old side for qualifying, which ultimately cost them a spot in the tournament. Lorenzo Insigne hardly played at all, which was quite the curious decision for then-manager Gian Piero Ventura. Insigne is one of the brightest young Italian soccer talents in the game today. There was also conflict between the team’s management and veteran players like Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci, which eventually boiled over.
It typically requires some sort of bottoming-out for a team to rediscover itself and eventually get things turned around. This happened with the United States, and I think it also happened with Italy. Ventura was promptly sacked, and I would expect talented young players like Insigne and Jorginho to factor much more into the team’s plans moving forward.
Qualifying out of Europe is exceptionally difficult because the vast majority of world-class teams are coming out of that confederation. In addition to the last 2 World Cup winners (France and Germany), UEFA boasts powerhouse sides like England, Belgium, Spain, and Portugal. Traditional powers like Italy and the Netherlands will also be vying for qualification.
14 teams in all qualified for the 2018 World Cup out of UEFA, which was the most of any confederation. It’s a tough road, but Italy clearly has enough talent to be considered among the best international sides in the world. They should get their act together, and there is really no excuse for this team to miss out again in 2022.
As is the case with the USA, I think it’s a foregone conclusion that Italy will qualify for the 2022 World Cup.
Will Harry Kane Win the Golden Boot in 2022?
- Yes +1000
- No -700
England was one of the most pleasant surprises in Russia last summer. The English have become synonymous with World Cup failures in the past, but Gareth Southgate’s side managed to rise up and mount a strong push at the 2018 event. The Three Lions wound up finishing fourth overall, which is England’s best finish at a World Cup since their last fourth-place finish in 1990.
Harry Kane, who plies his craft at the club level for Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League, was the driving force in England’s success in Russia. Kane found the back of the net 6 times during England’s run, which was good enough to earn him a Golden Boot, which is awarded to the player that finishes with the most goals in the tournament.
There were a total of 169 goals scored across the 64 matches in Russia last summer, which was among the most ever. Kane’s performance was exceptional, and it was a welcome sign following his lackluster effort for England during the 2016 Euros in France. Kane failed to score in that tournament as England crashed out in humiliating fashion in the round of 16.
Barring injury or a dramatic drop-off in form, we can safely expect Kane to remain a big part of the England squad when the next World Cup rolls around. The striker will still only be 29 years old when the world’s best talent converges on Qatar in a couple of years, which means he should still be in the physical prime of his career.
There will be plenty of other world-class players vying for the Golden Boot, but I like Kane’s chances. England has a young roster in general, so they should be able to contend for the 2022 World Cup title, as they did in ‘18. If England can mount another deep run, Kane should have plenty of opportunities to score.
I just like the value here at +1000. It’s a long way off, but there is real money to be made by betting on Kane to repeat as the Golden Boot winner in 2022.
Will Cristiano Ronaldo Play in the 2022 World Cup?
- Yes -150
- No +130
Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the best players to ever play the game, and he is unquestionably the best Portuguese player of all-time. Ronaldo has never led his country to World Cup glory, but he did help Portugal to an upset victory at Euro 2016, which is still the nation’s lone international tournament title.
Portugal was considered to be one of a handful of contenders to win the 2018 World Cup, though they weren’t necessarily among the betting favorites. Ronaldo’s side eventually made it out of Group B (just behind Spain), though they were beaten by Uruguay in the round of 16.
Ronaldo may have lost a step over the last couple of years, but he is still considered to be one of the best players in the world. However, he turned 34 this past February, and time doesn’t wait for anyone. By the time the 2022 event rolls around, it’s fair to wonder whether Ronaldo will still be among the world’s elite.
At this point, the decision is likely Ronaldo’s. Those in charge of the Portuguese team surely won’t tell him whether or not he can play. If he wants to play, he will. If he wants to hang up his cleats at the international level before then, he will.
I think Ronaldo is too prideful to give up on his dreams of winning a World Cup, so as long as he’s physically still able to compete at the highest level, he’ll be out there.